The edible 'food waste map' that shames Britain

Updated on 27 November 2013 | 0 Comments

Do you know how wide-scale the UK's food waste problem is? One artist has created an edible map of the nation to try and highlight the shocking amount of fruit and veg we waste every day.

Our woeful waste stats

mapA new report commissioned by food waste charity WRAP recently found that the UK wastes seven million tonnes of food every year. Almost half of that comes from our homes, where the average family throws away almost £60-worth of good food every month. 

Over the course of a year, the UK chucks away 600,000 tonnes of salad and vegetables at a cost of £1.7 million. To highlight these frightening statistics, and to try and provoke people to change their ways, ingredients specialist Very Lazy commissioned food artist Prudence Staite [pictured right, with her artwork] to create a map of the UK, using the equivalent of approximately six seconds-worth of the UK’s total salad and vegetable waste.

Painting with peas

logoThe piece of art, which was created with the support of Love Food Hate Waste, measures 2m x 3m, and is ‘painted’ with potatoes, onions, mixed root vegetables, mixed cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, baby sweetcorn, fine green beans, runner beans, peas, sugar snaps, leeks, spring onions, sprouts, mixed lettuce, courgette, peppers, spinach, cucumber, mushrooms, tomatoes and celery. 

The map weighed 304kg in total, which equates to a cost of about £323 of wasted salad and vegetables every six seconds. Worldwide, about one-third of all food produced (equivalent to 1.3 billion tonnes) gets lost or wasted in the food production and consumption systems, according to data released by the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations.   

Love your leftovers!

After creating the artwork, the ingredients were transported to London where the Very Lazy team cooked with FoodCycle’s Bromley-by-Bow community cafe volunteers, who served healthy and nutritious meals to people stemming from vulnerable groups in the wider community. 

Emma Marsh, Head of Love Food Hate Waste, said: “We are very pleased that Very Lazy chose to create a fun piece of art to demonstrate how much salad and veg is wasted in the UK. Food waste is a real issue both financially and environmentally. It’s also fantastic news that the veg and salad used in creating the artwork was then put to good use by FoodCycle.” 

If you want to try and reduce the amount of food you waste, then try downloading the free Love Food Hate Waste app. It’s full of great advice, from planning food shops to how to make the most of leftovers.   

How much food do you waste a week? And have you any top waste-busting tips to share? Talk to us in the Comments box below.

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